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A 62-year-old presents after noticing a dimple on the underside of her breast. Why?

NursingSKL clinical tip

By NursingSKL
May 15, 2023
iStock/ajr_images; NursingSKL

Many women present with concerns and symptoms related to their breasts. Given that one in eight women will develop breast cancer, it is very important that nurses carefully consider this possibility in any patient presenting with a breast change.

The recognition of a new breast lump is the most common presentation for breast tumours. While many breast lumps are benign, a significant portion are malignant. Clinical signs of malignant lesions include very hard lumps, immobile lesions, and ones that are associated with lymphadenopathy. A rare sign associated with breast cancer is dimpling of the overlying skin. This is a common presentation of an aggressive type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.

In addition to skin dimpling, this patient was noted to have a very firm breast lump. A mammogram was performed that confirmed the presence of breast cancer. A mastectomy and lymph node dissection were both performed.

Clinical tip: Breast dimpling and nipple retraction are rare presentations for breast cancer. Any new breast lump should be assessed for potential malignancy.


In this video, you will learn the key questions to ask your patient with a breast lump to better determine if the lesion is benign or malignant.

This clinical tip was provided by NursingSKL, a collaborative initiative between leading doctors and nurses to improve nurses’ clinical skills. Go to to find out more, meet the faculty, and try our free Practicum on Diabetes Care.
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